Open Science Research Excellence

Open Science Index

Commenced in January 2007 Frequency: Monthly Edition: International Paper Count: 382

Optimization of Biodiesel Production from Sunflower Oil Using Central Composite Design

The current study investigated the effect of catalyst ratio and methanol to oil ratio on biodiesel production by using central composite design. Biodiesel was produced by transesterification using sodium hydroxide as a homogeneous catalyst, a laboratory scale reactor consisting of flat bottom flask mounts with a reflux condenser, and a heating plate was used to produce biodiesel. Key parameters, including time, temperature, and mixing rate was kept constant at 60 minutes, 60 oC and 600 RPM, respectively. From the results obtained, it was observed that the biodiesel yield depends on catalyst ratio and methanol to oil ratio. The highest yield of 50.65% was obtained at catalyst ratio of 0.5 wt.% and methanol to oil mole ratio 10.5. The analysis of variances of biodiesel yield showed the R Squared value of 0.8387. A quadratic mathematical model was developed to predict the biodiesel yield in the specified parameters ranges.

Thermal Characterization of Graphene Oxide-Epoxy Nanocomposites Produced by Aqueous Emulsion
The present study desired to obtain a nanocomposite of epoxy resin reinforced with graphene oxide (OG), for aerospace application, produced by aqueous emulsion. It was obtained proof bodies with 0.00 wt%, 0.10 wt%, 0.25 wt% and 0.50 wt% in weight of nanoparticles, to check the influence of it in the final quality of the obtained product. The validation of the results was done by the application thermal characterization by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). It was seen that the nanocomposite reinforced with 0.10 wt% of OG showed the best results, the average glass transition temperature, at 2 °C, compared to the pure resin.
Static Modeling of the Delamination of a Composite Material Laminate in Mode II

The purpose of this paper is to analyze numerically by the three-dimensional finite element method, using ABAQUS calculation code, the mechanical behavior of a unidirectional and multidirectional delaminated stratified composite under mechanical loading in Mode II. This study consists of the determination of the energy release rate G in mode II as well as the distribution of equivalent von Mises stresses along the damaged zone by varying several parameters such as the applied load and the delamination length. It allowed us to deduce that the high energy release rate favors delamination at the free edges of a stratified plate subjected to bending.

Characterization of Electrospun Carbon Nanofiber Doped Polymer Composites

Ceramic, polymer and composite nanofibers are nowadays begun to be utilized in many fields of nanotechnology. By the means of dimensions, these fibers are as small as nano scale but because of having large surface area and microstructural characteristics, they provide unique mechanic, optical, magnetic, electronic and chemical properties. In terms of nanofiber production, electrospinning has been the most widely used technique in recent years. In this study, carbon nanofibers have been synthesized from solutions of Polyacrylonitrile (PAN)/ N,N-dimethylformamide (DMF) by electrospinning method. The carbon nanofibers have been stabilized by oxidation at 250 °C for 2 h in air and carbonized at 750 °C for 1 h in H2/N2. Images of carbon nanofibers have been taken with scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The images have been analyzed to study the fiber morphology and to determine the distribution of the fiber diameter using FibraQuant 1.3 software. Then polymer composites have been produced from mixture of carbon nanofibers and silicone polymer. The final polymer composites have been characterized by X-ray diffraction method and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) energy dispersive X-ray (EDX) measurements. These results have been reported and discussed. At result, homogeneous carbon nanofibers with 100-167 nm of diameter were obtained with optimized electrospinning conditions.

Composite Kernels for Public Emotion Recognition from Twitter

The Internet has grown into a powerful medium for information dispersion and social interaction that leads to a rapid growth of social media which allows users to easily post their emotions and perspectives regarding certain topics online. Our research aims at using natural language processing and text mining techniques to explore the public emotions expressed on Twitter by analyzing the sentiment behind tweets. In this paper, we propose a composite kernel method that integrates tree kernel with the linear kernel to simultaneously exploit both the tree representation and the distributed emotion keyword representation to analyze the syntactic and content information in tweets. The experiment results demonstrate that our method can effectively detect public emotion of tweets while outperforming the other compared methods.

UV Resistibility of a Carbon Nanofiber Reinforced Polymer Composite

Nowadays, a great concern is placed on the harmfulness of ultraviolet radiation (UVR) which attacks human bodies. Nanocarbon materials, such as carbon nanotubes (CNTs), carbon nanofibers (CNFs) and graphene, have been considered promising alternatives to shielding materials because of their excellent electrical conductivities, very high surface areas and low densities. In the present work, carbon nanofibers have been synthesized from solutions of Polyacrylonitrile (PAN)/ N,N-dimethylformamide (DMF) by electrospinning method. The carbon nanofibers have been stabilized by oxidation at 250 °C for 2 h in air and carbonized at 750 °C for 1 h in H2/N2. We present the fabrication and characterization of transparent and ultraviolet (UV) shielding CNF/polymer composites. The content of CNF filler has been varied from 0.2% to 0.6 % by weight. UV Spectroscopy has been performed to study the effect of composition on the transmittance of polymer composites.

Development and Characterization of Re-Entrant Auxetic Fibrous Structures for Application in Ballistic Composites

Auxetic fibrous structures and composites with negative Poisson’s ratio (NPR) have huge potential for application in ballistic protection due to their high energy absorption and excellent impact resistance. In the present research, re-entrant lozenge auxetic fibrous structures were produced through weft knitting technology using high performance polyamide and para-aramid fibres. Fabric structural parameters (e.g. loop length) and machine parameters (e.g. take down load) were varied in order to investigate their influence on the auxetic behaviours of the produced structures. These auxetic structures were then impregnated with two types of polymeric resins (epoxy and polyester) to produce composite materials, which were subsequently characterized for the auxetic behaviour. It was observed that the knitted fabrics produced using the polyamide yarns exhibited NPR over a wide deformation range, which was strongly dependant on the loop length and take down load. The polymeric composites produced from the auxetic fabrics also showed good auxetic property, which was superior in case of the polyester matrix. The experimental results suggested that these composites made from the auxetic fibrous structures can be properly designed to find potential use in the body amours for personal protection applications.

Effect of Curing Temperature on Mechanical Properties of Jute Fiber Reinforced Polylactic Acid Based Green Composite
Global warming, growing awareness of the environment, waste management issues, dwindling fossil resources, and rising oil prices resulted to increase the research in the materials that are friendly to our health and environment. Due to these reasons, green products are increasingly being promoted for sustainable development. In this work, fully biodegradable green composites have been developed using jute fibers as reinforcement and poly lactic acid as matrix material by film stacking technique. The effect of curing temperature during development of composites ranging from 160 °C, 170 °C, 180 °C and 190 °C was investigated for various mechanical properties. Results obtained from various tests indicate that impact strength decreases with an increase in curing temperature, but tensile and flexural strength increases till 180 °C, thereafter both the properties decrease. This study gives an optimum curing temperature for the development of jute/PLA composites.
Mechanical Investigation Approach to Optimize the High-Velocity Oxygen Fuel Fe-Based Amorphous Coatings Reinforced by B4C Nanoparticles

Fe-based amorphous feedstock powders are used as the matrix into which various ratios of hard B4C nanoparticles (0, 5, 10, 15, 20 vol.%) as reinforcing agents were prepared using a planetary high-energy mechanical milling. The ball-milled nanocomposite feedstock powders were also sprayed by means of high-velocity oxygen fuel (HVOF) technique. The characteristics of the powder particles and the prepared coating depending on their microstructures and nanohardness were examined in detail using nanoindentation tester. The results showed that the formation of the Fe-based amorphous phase was noticed over the course of high-energy ball milling. It is interesting to note that the nanocomposite coating is divided into two regions, namely, a full amorphous phase region and homogeneous dispersion of B4C nanoparticles with a scale of 10–50 nm in a residual amorphous matrix. As the B4C content increases, the nanohardness of the composite coatings increases, but the fracture toughness begins to decrease at the B4C content higher than 20 vol.%. The optimal mechanical properties are obtained with 15 vol.% B4C due to the suitable content and uniform distribution of nanoparticles. Consequently, the changes in mechanical properties of the coatings were attributed to the changes in the brittle to ductile transition by adding B4C nanoparticles.

Mechanistic Study of Composite Pavement Behavior in Heavy Duty Area

In heavy duty areas, asphalt pavement constructed as entrance roadway may expose distresses such as cracking and rutting during service life. To mitigate these problems, composite pavement with a roller-compacted concrete base may be a good alternative; however, it should be initially investigated. Structural performances such as fatigue cracking and rut depth may be changed due to variation of some design factors. Therefore, this study focuses on the variation effect of material modulus, layer thickness and loading on composite pavement performances. Stress and strain at the critical location are determined and used as the input of transfer function for corresponding distresses to evaluate the pavement performance. Also, composite pavement satisfying the design criteria may be selected as a design section for heavy duty areas. Consequently, this investigation indicates that composite pavement has the ability to eliminate fatigue cracking in asphalt surfaces and significantly reduce rut depth. In addition, a thick or strong rigid base can significantly reduce rut depth and prolong fatigue life of this layer.

A Dynamic Mechanical Thermal T-Peel Test Approach to Characterize Interfacial Behavior of Polymeric Textile Composites

Basic understanding of interfacial mechanisms is of importance for the development of polymer composites. For this purpose, we need techniques to analyze the quality of interphases, their chemical and physical interactions and their strength and fracture resistance. In order to investigate the interfacial phenomena in detail, advanced characterization techniques are favorable. Dynamic mechanical thermal analysis (DMTA) using a rheological system is a sensitive tool. T-peel tests were performed with this system, to investigate the temperature-dependent peel behavior of woven textile composites. A model system was made of polyamide (PA) woven fabric laminated with films of polypropylene (PP) or PP modified by grafting with maleic anhydride (PP-g-MAH). Firstly, control measurements were performed with solely PP matrixes. Polymer melt investigations, as well as the extensional stress, extensional viscosity and extensional relaxation modulus at -10°C, 100 °C and 170 °C, demonstrate similar viscoelastic behavior for films made of PP-g-MAH and its non-modified PP-control. Frequency sweeps have shown that PP-g-MAH has a zero phase viscosity of around 1600 Pa·s and PP-control has a similar zero phase viscosity of 1345 Pa·s. Also, the gelation points are similar at 2.42*104 Pa (118 rad/s) and 2.81*104 Pa (161 rad/s) for PP-control and PP-g-MAH, respectively. Secondly, the textile composite was analyzed. The extensional stress of PA66 fabric laminated with either PP-control or PP-g-MAH at -10 °C, 25 °C and 170 °C for strain rates of 0.001 – 1 s-1 was investigated. The laminates containing the modified PP need more stress for T-peeling. However, the strengthening effect due to the modification decreases by increasing temperature and at 170 °C, just above the melting temperature of the matrix, the difference disappears. Independent of the matrix used in the textile composite, there is a decrease of extensional stress by increasing temperature. It appears that the more viscous is the matrix, the weaker the laminar adhesion. Possibly, the measurement is influenced by the fact that the laminate becomes stiffer at lower temperatures. Adhesive lap-shear testing at room temperature supports the findings obtained with the T-peel test. Additional analysis of the textile composite at the microscopic level ensures that the fibers are well embedded in the matrix. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) imaging of a cross section of the composite shows no gaps between the fibers and matrix. Measurements of the water contact angle show that the MAH grafted PP is more polar than the virgin-PP, and that suggests a more favorable chemical interaction of PP-g-MAH with PA, compared to the non-modified PP. In fact, this study indicates that T-peel testing by DMTA is a technique to achieve more insights into polymeric textile composites.

Biodegradability Evaluation of Polylactic Acid Composite with Natural Fiber (Sisal)

Due to increasing environmental pressure for biodegradable products, especially in polymeric materials, in order to meet the demands of the biological cycles of the circular economy, new materials have been developed as a sustainability strategy. This study proposes a composite material developed from the biodegradable polymer PLA Ecovio® (polylactic acid - PLA) with natural sisal fibers, where the soybean ester was used as a plasticizer, which can aid in adhesion between the materials and fibers, making the most attractive final composite from an environmental point of view. The composites were obtained by extrusion. The materials tests were produced and submitted to biodegradation tests. Through the biodegradation tests, it can be seen that the biodegradable polymer composition with 5% sisal fiber presented about 12.4% more biodegradability compared to the polymer without fiber addition. It has also been found that the plasticizer was not a compatible with fibers and the polymer. Finally, fibers help to anticipate the decomposition process of the material when subjected to conditions of a landfill. Therefore, its intrinsic properties are not affected during its use, only the biodegradation process begins after its exposure to landfill conditions.

Electrospinning and Characterization of Silk Fibroin/Gelatin Nanofibre Mats
In this study, Bombyx mori silk fibroin/gelatin (SF/GT) nanocomposite with different GT ratio (SF/GT 100/0, 90/10 and 70/30) were prepared by electrospinning process and crosslinked with glutaraldehyde (GA) vapor. Properties of crosslinked SF/GT nanocomposites were investigated by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), mechanical test, water uptake capacity (WUC) and porosity. From SEM images, it was found that fiber diameter increased as GT content increased. The results of mechanical test indicated that the SF/GT 70/30 nanocomposites had both the highest Young’s modulus of 342 MPa and the highest tensile strength of about 14 MPa. However, porosity and WUC decreased from 62% and 405% for pristine SF to 47% and 232% for SF/GT 70/30, respectively. This behavior can be related to higher degree of crosslinking as GT ratio increased which altered the structure and physical properties of scaffolds. This study showed that incorporation of GT into SF nanofibers can enhance mechanical properties of resultant nanocomposite, but the GA treatment should be optimized to control and fine-tune other properties to warrant their biomedical application.
Sintering of Composite Ceramic based on Corundum with Additive in the Al2O3-TiO2-MnO System
In this paper, the effect of the additive content in the Al2O3-TiO2-MnO system on the sintering of composite ceramics based on corundum was studied. The samples were pressed by uniaxial semi-dry pressing under 100 MPa and sintered at 1500 °С and 1550 °С. The properties of composite ceramics for porosity and flexural strength were studied. When the amount of additives increases, the properties of composite ceramic samples are better than samples without additives.
Analytical and Numerical Results for Free Vibration of Laminated Composites Plates

The reinforcement and repair of concrete structures by bonding composite materials have become relatively common operations. Different types of composite materials can be used: carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP), glass fiber reinforced polymer (GFRP) as well as functionally graded material (FGM). The development of analytical and numerical models describing the mechanical behavior of structures in civil engineering reinforced by composite materials is necessary. These models will enable engineers to select, design, and size adequate reinforcements for the various types of damaged structures. This study focuses on the free vibration behavior of orthotropic laminated composite plates using a refined shear deformation theory. In these models, the distribution of transverse shear stresses is considered as parabolic satisfying the zero-shear stress condition on the top and bottom surfaces of the plates without using shear correction factors. In this analysis, the equation of motion for simply supported thick laminated rectangular plates is obtained by using the Hamilton’s principle. The accuracy of the developed model is demonstrated by comparing our results with solutions derived from other higher order models and with data found in the literature. Besides, a finite-element analysis is used to calculate the natural frequencies of laminated composite plates and is compared with those obtained by the analytical approach.

Mechanical, Thermal and Biodegradable Properties of Bioplast-Spruce Green Wood Polymer Composites

Environmental and sustainability concerns push the industries to manufacture alternative materials having less environmental impact. The Wood Plastic Composites (WPCs) produced by blending the biopolymers and natural fillers permit not only to tailor the desired properties of materials but also are the solution to meet the environmental and sustainability requirements. This work presents the elaboration and characterization of the fully green WPCs prepared by blending a biopolymer, BIOPLAST® GS 2189 and spruce sawdust used as filler with different amounts. Since both components are bio-based, the resulting material is entirely environmentally friendly. The mechanical, thermal, structural properties of these WPCs were characterized by different analytical methods like tensile, flexural and impact tests, Thermogravimetric Analysis (TGA), Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC) and X-ray Diffraction (XRD). Their water absorption properties and resistance to the termite and fungal attacks were determined in relation with different wood filler content. The tensile and flexural moduli of WPCs increased with increasing amount of wood fillers into the biopolymer, but WPCs became more brittle compared to the neat polymer. Incorporation of spruce sawdust modified the thermal properties of polymer: The degradation, cold crystallization, and melting temperatures shifted to higher temperatures when spruce sawdust was added into polymer. The termite, fungal and water absorption resistance of WPCs decreased with increasing wood amount in WPCs, but remained in durability class 1 (durable) concerning fungal resistance and quoted 1 (attempted attack) in visual rating regarding to the termites resistance except that the WPC with the highest wood content (30 wt%) rated 2 (slight attack) indicating a long term durability. All the results showed the possibility to elaborate the easy injectable composite materials with adjustable properties by incorporation of BIOPLAST® GS 2189 and spruce sawdust. Therefore, lightweight WPCs allow both to recycle wood industry byproducts and to produce a full ecologic material.

The Use of Plant-Based Natural Fibers in Reinforced Cement Composites

Plant-based natural fibers are used more increasingly in construction materials. It is done to reduce the pressure on the built environment, which has been increased dramatically due to the increases world population and their needs. Plant-based natural fibers are abundant in many countries. Despite the low-cost of such environmental friendly renewable material, it has the ability to enhance the mechanical properties of construction materials. This paper presents an extensive discussion on the use of plant-based natural fibers as reinforcement for cement-based composites, with a particular emphasis upon fiber types; fiber characteristics, and fiber-cement composites performance. It also covers a thorough overview on the main factors, affecting the properties of plant-based natural fiber cement composite in it fresh and hardened state. The feasibility of using plant-based natural fibers in producing various construction materials; such as, mud bricks and blocks is investigated. In addition, other applications of using such fibers as internal curing agents as well as durability enhancer are also discussed. Finally, recommendation for possible future work in this area is presented.

Optimization of Carbon Nanotube Content of Asphalt Nanocomposites with Regard to Resistance to Permanent Deformation

This paper presents the results of the development of asphalt nanocomposites containing carbon nanotubes (CNTs) with high resistance to permanent deformation, aiming to increase the performance of asphalt surfaces in relation to the rutting problem. Asphalt nanocomposites were prepared with the addition of different proportions of CNTs (1%, 2% and 3%) in relation to the weight of asphalt binder. The base binder used was a conventional binder (50-70 penetration) classified as PG 58-22. The optimum percentage of CNT addition in the asphalt binder (base) was determined through the evaluation of the rheological and empirical characteristics of the nanocomposites produced. In order to evaluate the contribution and the effects of the nanocomposite (optimized) in relation to the rutting, the conventional and nanomodified asphalt mixtures were tested in a French traffic simulator (Orniéreur). The results obtained demonstrate the efficient contribution of the asphalt nanocomposite containing CNTs to the resistance to permanent deformation of the asphalt mixture.

Numerical Simulation of Lightning Strike Direct Effects on Aircraft Skin Composite Laminate

Nowadays, the direct effects of lightning to aircrafts are of great importance because of the massive use of composite materials. In comparison with metallic materials, composites present several weaknesses for lightning strike direct effects. Especially, their low electrical and thermal conductivities lead to severe lightning strike damage. The lightning strike direct effects are burning, heating, magnetic force, sparking and arcing. As the problem is complex, we investigated it gradually. A magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) model is developed to simulate the lightning strikes in order to estimate the damages on the composite materials. Then, a coupled thermal-electrical finite element analysis is used to study the interaction between the lightning arc and the composite laminate and to investigate the material degradation.

Power and Wear Reduction Using Composite Links of Crank-Rocker Mechanism with Optimum Transmission Angle

Reducing energy consumption became the major concern for all countries of the world during the recent decades. In general, power saving is currently the nominal goal of most industrial countries. It is well known that fossil fuels are the main pillar of development of world countries. Unfortunately, the increased rate of fossil fuel consumption will lead to serious problems caused by an expected depletion of fuels. Moreover, dangerous gases and vapors emission lead to severe environmental problems during fuel burning. Consequently, most engineering sectors especially the mechanical sectors are looking for improving any machine accompanied by reducing its energy consumption. Crank-Rocker planar mechanism is the most applied in mechanical systems. Besides, it is one of the most significant parts of the machines for obtaining the oscillatory motion. The transmission angle of this mechanism can be considered as an optimum value when its extreme values are equally varied around 90°. In addition, the transmission angle plays an important role in decreasing the required driving power and improving the dynamic properties of the mechanism. Hence, appropriate selection of mechanism links lengthens, which assures optimum transmission angle leads to decreasing the driving power. Moreover, mechanism's links manufactured from composite materials afford link's lightweight, which decreases the required driving torque. Furthermore, wear and corrosion problems can be treated through using composite links instead of using metal ones. This paper is dealing with improving the performance of crank-rocker mechanism using composite links due to their flexural elastic modulus values and stiffness in addition to high damping of composite materials.

Non-Circular Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymers Chainring Failure Analysis

This paper presents a finite element model to simulate the teeth failure of non-circular composite chainring. Model consists of the chainring and a part of the chain. To reduce the size of the model, only the first 11 rollers are simulated. In order to validate the model, it is firstly applied to a circular aluminum chainring and evolution of the stress in the teeth is compared with the literature. Then, effect of the non-circular shape is studied through three different loading positions. Strength of non-circular composite chainring and failure scenario is investigated. Moreover, two composite lay-ups are proposed to observe the influence of the stacking. Results show that composite material can be used but the lay-up has a large influence on the strength. Finally, loading position does not have influence on the first composite failure that always occurs in the first tooth.

Minimizing the Drilling-Induced Damage in Fiber Reinforced Polymeric Composites

Fiber reinforced polymeric (FRP) composites are finding wide-spread industrial applications because of their exceptionally high specific strength and specific modulus of elasticity. Nevertheless, it is very seldom to get ready-for-use components or products made of FRP composites. Secondary processing by machining, particularly drilling, is almost always required to make holes for fastening components together to produce assemblies. That creates problems since the FRP composites are neither homogeneous nor isotropic. Some of the problems that are encountered include the subsequent damage in the region around the drilled hole and the drilling – induced delamination of the layer of ply, that occurs both at the entrance and the exit planes of the work piece. Evidently, the functionality of the work piece would be detrimentally affected. The current work was carried out with the aim of eliminating or at least minimizing the work piece damage associated with drilling of FPR composites. Each test specimen involves a woven reinforced graphite fiber/epoxy composite having a thickness of 12.5 mm (0.5 inch). A large number of test specimens were subjected to drilling operations with different combinations of feed rates and cutting speeds. The drilling induced damage was taken as the absolute value of the difference between the drilled hole diameter and the nominal one taken as a percentage of the nominal diameter. The later was determined for each combination of feed rate and cutting speed, and a matrix comprising those values was established, where the columns indicate varying feed rate while and rows indicate varying cutting speeds. Next, the analysis of variance (ANOVA) approach was employed using Minitab software, in order to obtain the combination that would improve the drilling induced damage. Experimental results show that low feed rates coupled with low cutting speeds yielded the best results.

ZnS and Graphene Quantum Dots Nanocomposite as Potential Electron Acceptor for Photovoltaics

Zinc sulphide (ZnS) quantum dots (QDs) were synthesized successfully via simple sonochemical method. X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and high resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM) analysis revealed the average size of QDs of the order of 3.7 nm. The band gap of the QDs was tuned to 5.2 eV by optimizing the synthesis parameters. UV-Vis absorption spectra of ZnS QD confirm the quantum confinement effect. Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) analysis confirmed the formation of single phase ZnS QDs. To fabricate the diode, blend of ZnS QDs and P3HT was prepared and the heterojunction of PEDOT:PSS and the blend was formed by spin coating on indium tin oxide (ITO) coated glass substrate. The diode behaviour of the heterojunction was analysed, wherein the ideality factor was found to be 2.53 with turn on voltage 0.75 V and the barrier height was found to be 1.429 eV. ZnS-Graphene QDs nanocomposite was characterised for the surface morphological study. It was found that the synthesized ZnS QDs appear as quasi spherical particles on the graphene sheets. The average particle size of ZnS-graphene nanocomposite QDs was found to be 8.4 nm. From voltage-current characteristics of ZnS-graphene nanocomposites, it is observed that the conductivity of the composite increases by 104 times the conductivity of ZnS QDs. Thus the addition of graphene QDs in ZnS QDs enhances the mobility of the charge carriers in the composite material. Thus, the graphene QDs, with high specific area for a large interface, high mobility and tunable band gap, show a great potential as an electron-acceptors in photovoltaic devices.

Analysis of Mechanical Properties for AP/HTPB Solid Propellant under Different Loading Conditions

To investigate the characterization of the mechanical properties of composite solid propellant (CSP) based on hydroxyl-terminated polybutadiene (HTPB) at different temperatures and strain rates, uniaxial tensile tests were conducted over a range of temperatures -60 °C to +76 °C and strain rates 0.000164 to 0.328084 s-1 using a conventional universal testing machine. From the experimental data, it can be noted that the mechanical properties of AP/HTPB propellant are mainly dependent on the applied strain rate and the temperature condition. The stress-strain responses exhibited an initial yielding followed by the viscoelastic phase, which was strongly affected by the strain rate and temperature. It was found that the mechanical properties increased with both increasing strain rate and decreasing temperature. Based on the experimental tests, the master curves of the tensile properties are drawn using predetermined shift factor and the results were discussed. This work is a first step in preliminary investigation the nonlinear viscoelasticity behavior of CSP.

Crashworthiness Optimization of an Automotive Front Bumper in Composite Material

In the last years, the crashworthiness of an automotive body structure can be improved, since the beginning of the design stage, thanks to the development of specific optimization tools. It is well known how the finite element codes can help the designer to investigate the crashing performance of structures under dynamic impact. Therefore, by coupling nonlinear mathematical programming procedure and statistical techniques with FE simulations, it is possible to optimize the design with reduced number of analytical evaluations. In engineering applications, many optimization methods which are based on statistical techniques and utilize estimated models, called meta-models, are quickly spreading. A meta-model is an approximation of a detailed simulation model based on a dataset of input, identified by the design of experiments (DOE); the number of simulations needed to build it depends on the number of variables. Among the various types of meta-modeling techniques, Kriging method seems to be excellent in accuracy, robustness and efficiency compared to other ones when applied to crashworthiness optimization. Therefore the application of such meta-model was used in this work, in order to improve the structural optimization of a bumper for a racing car in composite material subjected to frontal impact. The specific energy absorption represents the objective function to maximize and the geometrical parameters subjected to some design constraints are the design variables. LS-DYNA codes were interfaced with LS-OPT tool in order to find the optimized solution, through the use of a domain reduction strategy. With the use of the Kriging meta-model the crashworthiness characteristic of the composite bumper was improved.

Detection of Defects in CFRP by Ultrasonic IR Thermographic Method
In the paper introduced the diagnostic technique making possible the research of internal structures in composite materials reinforced fibres using in different applications. The main reason of damages in structures of these materials is the changing distribution of load in constructions in the lifetime. Appearing defect is largely complicated because of the appearance of disturbing of continuity of reinforced fibres, binder cracks and loss of fibres adhesiveness from binders. Defect in composite materials is usually more complicated than in metals. At present, infrared thermography is the most effective method in non-destructive testing composite. One of IR thermography methods used in non-destructive evaluation is vibrothermography. The vibrothermography is not a new non-destructive method, but the new solution in this test is use ultrasonic waves to thermal stimulation of materials. In this paper, both modelling and experimental results which illustrate the advantages and limitations of ultrasonic IR thermography in inspecting composite materials will be presented. The ThermoSon computer program for computing 3D dynamic temperature distribuions in anisotropic layered solids with subsurface defects subject to ulrasonic stimulation was used to optimise heating parameters in the detection of subsurface defects in composite materials. The program allows for the analysis of transient heat conduction and ultrasonic wave propagation phenomena in solids. The experiments at MIAT were fulfilled by means of FLIR SC 7600 IR camera. Ultrasonic stimulation was performed with the frequency from 15 kHz to 30 kHz with maximum power up to 2 kW.
A Study on Application of Elastic Theory for Computing Flexural Stresses in Preflex Beam

This paper presents the step-by-step procedure for using Elastic Theory to calculate the internal stresses in composite bridge girders prestressed by the Preflexing Technology, called Prebeam in Japan and Preflex beam worldwide. Elastic Theory approaches preflex beams the same way as it does the conventional composite girders. Since preflex beam undergoes different stages of construction, calculations are made using different sectional and material properties. Stresses are calculated in every stage using the properties of the specific section. Stress accumulation gives the available stress in a section of interest. Concrete presence in the section implies prestress loss due to creep and shrinkage, however; more work is required to be done in this field. In addition to the graphical presentation of this application, this paper further discusses important notes of graphical comparison between the results of an experimental-only research carried out on a preflex beam, with the results of simulation based on the elastic theory approach, for an identical beam using Finite Element Modeling (FEM) by the author.

Polymer Modification of Fine Grained Concretes Used in Textile Reinforced Cementitious Composites

Textile reinforced cementitious composite (TRCC) is a development of a composite material where textile and fine-grained concrete (matrix) materials are used in combination. These matrices offer high performance properties in many aspects. To achieve high performance, polymer modified fine-grained concretes were used as matrix material which have high flexural strength. In this study, ten latex polymers and ten powder polymers were added to fine-grained concrete mixtures. These latex and powder polymers were added to the mixtures at different rates related to binder weight. Mechanical properties such as compressive and flexural strength were studied. Results showed that latex polymer and redispersible polymer modified fine-grained concretes showed different mechanical performance. A wide range of both latex and redispersible powder polymers were studied. As the addition rate increased compressive strength decreased for all mixtures. Flexural strength increased as the addition rate increased but significant enhancement was not observed through all mixtures.

Preparation and Characterization of Pectin Based Proton Exchange Membranes Derived by Solution Casting Method for Direct Methanol Fuel Cells
Direct methanol fuel cells (DMFCs) are considered to be one of the most promising candidates for portable and stationary applications in the view of their advantages such as high energy density, easy manipulation, high efficiency and they operate with liquid fuel which could be used without requiring any fuel-processing units. Electrolyte membrane of DMFC plays a key role as a proton conductor as well as a separator between electrodes. Increasing concern over environmental protection, biopolymers gain tremendous interest owing to their eco-friendly bio-degradable nature. Pectin is a natural anionic polysaccharide which plays an essential part in regulating mechanical behavior of plant cell wall and it is extracted from outer cells of most of the plants. The aim of this study is to develop and demonstrate pectin based polymer composite membranes as methanol impermeable polymer electrolyte membranes for DMFCs. Pectin based nanocomposites membranes are prepared by solution-casting technique wherein pectin is blended with chitosan followed by the addition of optimal amount of sulphonic acid modified Titanium dioxide nanoparticle (S-TiO2). Nanocomposite membranes are characterized by Fourier Transform-Infra Red spectroscopy, Scanning electron microscopy, and Energy dispersive spectroscopy analyses. Proton conductivity and methanol permeability are determined into order to evaluate their suitability for DMFC application. Pectin-chitosan blends endow with a flexible polymeric network which is appropriate to disperse rigid S-TiO2 nanoparticles. Resulting nanocomposite membranes possess adequate thermo-mechanical stabilities as well as high charge-density per unit volume. Pectin-chitosan natural polymeric nanocomposite comprising optimal S-TiO2 exhibits good electrochemical selectivity and therefore desirable for DMFC application.
Experimental Investigation on Cold-Formed Steel Foamed Concrete Composite Wall under Compression

A series of tests on cold-formed steel foamed concrete (CSFC) composite walls subjected to axial load were proposed. The primary purpose of the experiments was to study the mechanical behavior and identify the failure modes of CSFC composite walls. Two main factors were considered in this study: 1) specimen with pouring foamed concrete or without and 2) different foamed concrete density ranks (corresponding to different foamed concrete strength). The interior space between two pieces of straw board of the specimen W-2 and W-3 were poured foamed concrete, and the specimen W-1 does not have foamed concrete core. The foamed concrete density rank of the specimen W-2 was A05 grade, and that of the specimen W-3 was A07 grade. Results showed that the failure mode of CSFC composite wall without foamed concrete was distortional buckling of cold-formed steel (CFS) column, and that poured foamed concrete includes the local crushing of foamed concrete and local buckling of CFS column, but the former prior to the later. Compared with CSFC composite wall without foamed concrete, the ultimate bearing capacity of spec imens poured A05 grade and A07 grade foamed concrete increased 1.6 times and 2.2 times respectively, and specimen poured foamed concrete had a low vertical deformation. According to these results, the simplified calculation formula for the CSFC wall subjected to axial load was proposed, and the calculated results from this formula are in very good agreement with the test results.

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